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Letter to the Editor: Linares’ Response

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We can create jobs and grow our economy without raising taxes.
Employment is the key.

This has been the most negative campaign season in Connecticut history from the governor’s race, to our state senate race. After knocking on thousands of doors, my constituents have told me they are tired of the negativity and want to hear the candidates talk about issues and so​lutions that are important to them.

That’s why I’m taking this time to talk about what I believe are the problems hard working families and seniors face and my ideas and solutions to make Connecticut a better place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

The problems

Over the last four years, businesses are beginning to leave our state and not without good reason. We suffered the largest tax increase in state history. We charge new businesses $250 just for filing paperwork and, despite the increases, Connecticut still has a $2.8 billion deficit and $68 billion in unfunded liabilities and pensions.

We know the tax increase has hurt those on fixed incomes the most. We also understand that the new hospital tax has absorbed $600 million from our hospitals and as a result they had to lay off 1,400 people. That is, 1,400 doctors, nurses and medical service providers that are no longer serving our people, but are on the unemployment line, leaving hospitals short staffed at a time when Connecticut must improve its mental health system, provide services to seniors and handle new unknown viruses presenting themselves to the public.

Our 44 cents per gallon tax on fuel has hit our lower income residents and those on fixed income the hardest, making it difficult for them to meet their transportation needs while the increase in property taxes and income tax on middle class citizens is wearing out are workforce.

The Solutions

As your state senator I have voted against every tax increase over the past two years. I’ve also opposed the bloated budgets that did nothing to create new jobs and grow businesses. Here are my ideas to grow jobs, improve our economy and restore confidence in our government.

First, I support ending Connecticut’s uncertain fiscal future by balancing our budget without raising taxes and creating a plan to pay down our unfunded liabilities, which are just taxes waiting to happen. Residents and businesses need to plan their economic future and should not be hit with an enormous tax increase because Hartford can’t balance a budget.

We must make Connecticut more competitive against neighboring states, giving businesses a reason to come here and not go somewhere else. We can do this by creating a pro-business atmosphere rather than the anti-business climate we have now.

Our gasoline tax, sales tax, income and property taxes are all collectively higher than those in our neighboring New England states. To balance the budget and lower taxes we must stop spending tax payer money on projects that are not cost effective and do nothing to reliably produce quality long-term jobs. The busway from New Britain to Hartford is a perfect example of a project that was unneeded and, at a cost of $760 million took valuable resources from our schools, hospitals, roads and bridges.

The busway is not only draining the state bank account, but DOT workers are focused on getting this project completed instead of focusing on their fundamental responsibility of keeping our roads, bridges and railways adequate. We need to create a lock box on the special transportation fund. All the money that comes into the state from the gasoline tax is supposed to go to the special transportation fund to pay for repairs on our roads and bridges. Currently that money is squandered in the general fund, leaving our roads and bridges in disrepair.

After spending two years in Hartford, it’s easy to see there is much pork in our state budget. Every commissioner and agency must work to leave 2 percent of their budget in reserves that will go towards balancing our budget. In the event of a surplus, the surplus funds should be used to pay down unfunded liabilities, not for new spending.

We need to adopt a new attitude. I believe that we must change our state’s attitude towards our job creators and our workforce. We must eliminate red tape and useless regulations in an effort to encourage new businesses to open here in Connecticut, while keeping our college graduates working here. We should repeal the $250 paperwork fee for filing a new business. Right now, small restaurants and mom and pop Main Street businesses pay the same annual $250 business entity tax that large corporations like ESPN pay. This is an inexcusable money grab. I have proposed and will keep fighting for the Learn Here Live Here program that would give individuals the opportunity to save up to $2,500 per year tax free as long as when they have saved enough money it is used to open a new business.

Because we invest billions of dollars of tax payer money into UConn and other state schools, we need to make sure those talented, young, energetic minds stay in Connecticut as part of the next generation of workers.

I pledge to you that I will continue to work for lower taxes in order to spur economic growth, not hinder it. I’m the only candidate for the state senate that will not vote for a tax increase or a budget that does not support private industry in the creation of jobs.

I am a businessman. I have invested countless hours, time and money in building a successful solar energy company here in Connecticut and have created more than 240 well-paying jobs for Connecticut workers. The most rewarding part about my job is the opportunity to create new jobs for others.

Let us renew our promise to work hard and make Connecticut a place where individuals, can live, work, raise a family, and retire. I ask you on Nov. 4 to vote for a candidate that has a plan, is experienced, and can bring a proven work ethic to the table that is ready, willing and able to serve you. Beware of the candidate that only offers criticism; these shrill tactics stem from the people in Hartford whose only goal is power and maintaining the status quo.

I will work tirelessly for you. On Nov. 4 I am asking for your vote.

Take a look at the end of a recent debate HERE:

Thank you,

Art Linares